A MUSICIAN who has raised at least £200,000 for schools in the area has been honoured with a civic award.

Raymond Dainton, aged 78, was presented with the Westhoughton Civic Award by the town council in recognition of his fundraising efforts for Birtenshaw School and Firwood High School over the years.

Mr Dainton is a member of the Freemasons in Westhoughton and plays piano for various functions including the annual regional Masons ball at the Macron.

He has also held a number of charity hog roasts at his home in Marshes Farm, which are usually attended by more than 50 people each time.

Mr Dainton decided to start fundraising for Birtenshaw School as it was where his 27-year-old grandson, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child, was educated.

He said: "I felt humbled by the award really and it felt great.

"I am just going to carry on with playing my music. I have made a vow to myself that I am going to keep doing it as long as I can.

"I am getting old now but I want to carry on playing music because I enjoy doing it."

He also began donating some of the money for Firwood High School more recently after another teenage grandson was also diagnosed with cerebral palsy and started at the school in Harwood..

Mr Dainton is well-known locally as the owner of Rotary Test Drilling, based at his farm.

He has been playing the piano for the Freemasons since he joined the organisation 25 years ago.

He currently lives with his wife Joan, who he has been married to for 56 years.

The couple have three sons, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

He was presented with the civic medal by Westhoughton town mayor Cllr Samantha Watkin and town council leader Cllr Arthur Price.

He also received the Harold Daniels Memorial Trophy. Both are awarded to people on an annual basis in recognition of their long-term good work for the community and the town.

A spokesman from Westhoughton Town Council said: "Over the last 30 plus years, Raymond has raised over £100,000 for Birtenshaw School and Firwood School, and he is still fundraising.

"Raymond is a very worthy recipient of both the Civic Medal, which is the town's highest honour, and the Harold Daniels Memorial Trophy."